How to Quit a Job You Just Started

Quitting a job can be scary. There’s the fear of disappointing your bosses and colleagues, losing good income, burning a professional bridge and even sabotaging your career at large.

Take that fear and triple it, and that’s probably what you’re feeling if you want to quit a job you just started.

Don’t let self-doubt cloud your instincts. If something inside you is screaming for release, listen to it. Address that voice of doubt directly and consciously. To determine what kind of change to make, try out the three tactics discussed below.

BEFORE You Quit a Job You Just Started:

Make Sure You’ve Given the Job a Fair Chance

Before you turn in your resignation – or explode at the colleague who’s driving you nuts – really stop and think about this job. Can you pinpoint exactly what it is that’s causing your urge to flee? If you want to quit a job you just started, is it because you?

  • Dislike your colleague(s), in which case you might try seeking out others who you have more in common with. Sometimes finding your place in a work environment takes a little time.
  • Dislike your boss. Be direct, honest and genuine with that boss. Yes, you must do so tactfully, but in the long run, communicating your frustration may save your relationship with that boss and brighten your entire perspective toward the job.
  • Dislike the work itself. Maybe this isn’t the kind of work you thought you were signing up for. Is there any way you can incorporate more of what you love doing into the job? Maybe your boss could help you bounce around a few ideas to make it happen.
  • Want more meaning in your work. More and more businesses are striving to help their employees find purpose, namely because millennials care more about meaningful work than big salaries. If you aren’t feeling much purpose in your work, consider ways to incorporate it yourself. Better yet, drop a few well-researched notes in the suggestion box.

If, after careful consideration, you decide this job really can’t be salvaged, it’s time to start the quitting process – and to do it wisely.

DURING Your Consideration to Quit a Job You Just Started:

Line up Your Next Move

If you’ve just started this new job, chances are you have a few ideas on hand for your next move. After all, you recently had to do some job hunting to get where you are now.

As you review your potential job leads, consider these options:

  • Switching to part-time or freelance work with your current employer in order to keep some money rolling in while you look for your next job
  • Taking a position at a local store, movie theater, arcade – something low-key, part-time and maybe even fun
  • Get innovative with your transition from this job to the next

Quitting a position cold turkey, without having your next job lined up, isn’t a great move financially or professionally. That being said, remember that your well-being is your top priority.

If you truly can’t stand to stay at your job for another moment, it’s best to quit now and keep your sanity. There’s no shame in taking a tween job while you figure out your next step. You might even find some new purpose during that transitional time.

AFTER You’ve Decided to Quit a Job You Just Started:

Talk to Your Boss One-on-One

Speaking to your boss is probably the part of the quitting process you dread most. After all, they’ve invested a lot of time and energy into finding a good candidate for the position, and they chose you.

On the other hand, though, you know you aren’t the right fit for this role, and you deserve to work in a way that makes you feel useful, comfortable and full of purpose. In addition, knowing how and when to say no is a vital part of preserving your sanity and self-worth.

If you’ve decided to quit a job you just started, channel this knowledge into your discussion, following these four steps:

  1. Meet with your boss in person. If it’s a walk-ins welcome kind of office, great. If not, arrange to have a meeting ahead of time.
  1. Start by thanking them. Bosses can generally sense when you’re on the brink of quitting. Starting with an “I’m very grateful for this opportunity” shows you’re thinking of them and not just yourself.
  1. Be completely honest. After the thank you comes the dreaded ‘but’ that no boss really wants to hear. No matter how tempting, don’t make up a story about why you need to go. Explain that the position just isn’t the right fit for you, and why.
  1. Offer what you can. Even if you’ve only been there a couple weeks, it’s common professional courtesy to offer to stay in the position until the company finds a replacement for you. Bonus points if you help with the transition.

Again, your personal well-being is priority No. 1, so maybe you’re thinking of cutting step four a little short. If two week’s notice is all you can bear to give, then two weeks it is.

When in doubt, imagine the conversation from the other side. If you were in the boss’s shoes, wouldn’t you want to hear a courteous, honest and genuine explanation for your short stay? They know you’re only human, and sometimes it’s just not the right fit. Speak with confidence and honesty, and you may just walk out with that bridge unburned.


If you’d like to stay up-to-date on more ways to grow your career, or even if you just want to share your own frustrations on a new job, subscribe to the Punched Clocks newsletter.

Get everything you need to build a career you love by signing up for the newsletter.

The following two tabs change content below.
Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *